Head coach Mike Tomlin said Burnett will open OTAs at free safety, Dave Lolley of DKPittsburghSports.com reports.
When Burnett signed with Pittsburgh in March, most assumed he would slot in as the starting strong safety and push Sean Davis over to free safety. However, it seems like the Steelers -- at least momentarily -- may have something else in mind. While it seems likely that the team will experiment with a number of secondary arrangements as the offseason continues to unfold, IDP owners should take note of Burnett's possible position change, as free safeties naturally play further from the line of scrimmage than strong safeties and consequently tend to post inferior tackle numbers.
Burnett's eight-year run with the Packers included three 100-tackle campaigns, nine interceptions, eight forced fumbles and 7.5 sacks. Generally, he provided a steady hand at strong safety, but injuries also beset him from time to time, as he suited up for only 102 of a possible 128 regular-season contests. Upon joining the Steelers, he'll line up next to third-year safety Sean Davis within a defense that ranked fifth in terms of yards allowed and seventh in points conceded in 2017.
Burnett is flying to Pittsburgh on Tuesday to finalize a contract with the Steelers, James Jones of NFL Network reports.
The Steelers have an opening at strong safety after releasing 2017 starter Mike Mitchell last week. The 29-year-old Burnett would be a clear upgrade, capable of playing linebacker or slot corner in the nickel/dime, in addition to serving as a traditional strong safety in the base defense. He's one of the top tackle compilers among defensive backs, averaging 6.8 in 102 career games. Health has been the only real concern, with Burnett missing at least one game (but no more than five) each of the past five seasons.
Burnett made 68 tackles (48 solo) and forced a fumble over 12 games during the 2017 season.
Burnett put up quality numbers for fantasy players in 2016. but he failed to register anything in the sack or interception departments and saw his tackle total take a big drop while battling injuries. A free agent in the offseason, it remains to be seen if Burnett will return to the Packers, or head elsewhere after eight seasons in Green Bay.
Burnett recorded a season-high nine solo tackles and a forced fumble Sunday against the Steelers.
Although Burnett missed the previous two games with a groin injury, he was able to play all 74 defensive snaps without missing a beat. The eighth-year Packer will look to continue his success against the Buccaneers in Week 13.
|2010||Green Bay Packers||4||14||12.0||2||0||1||0||0.0||0||0||1|
|2011||Green Bay Packers||16||107||78.0||29||1||3||0||0.0||0||0||11|
|2012||Green Bay Packers||16||123||88.0||35||2||2||1||0.5||1||0||5|
|2013||Green Bay Packers||13||96||60.0||36||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||6|
|2014||Green Bay Packers||15||130||94.0||36||1.5||1||32||32.0||32||0||4|
|2015||Green Bay Packers||11||68||47.0||21||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||5|
|2016||Green Bay Packers||15||93||70.0||23||3||2||19||9.5||19||0||9|
|2017||Green Bay Packers||12||68||48.0||20||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||3|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2010||Green Bay Packers||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2011||Green Bay Packers||16||0||0||2||0||2||25||2||0|
|2012||Green Bay Packers||16||0||0||2||0||1||0||1||0|
|2013||Green Bay Packers||13||0||0||0||0||3||12||3||1|
|2014||Green Bay Packers||15||0||0||1||0||1||0||1||0|
|2015||Green Bay Packers||11||0||0||2||0||1||21||1||0|
|2016||Green Bay Packers||15||0||0||0||0||1||35||1||0|
|2017||Green Bay Packers||12||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0|